Decreased prefrontal cortex activity in mild traumatic brain injury during performance of an auditory oddball task

Suzanne T. Witt, David W. Lovejoy, Godfrey D. Pearlson, Michael C. Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Up to one-third of patients with mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) demonstrate persistent cognitive deficits in the 'executive' function domain. Mild TBI patients have shown prefrontal cortex activity deficits during the performance of executive tasks requiring active information maintenance and manipulation. However, it is unclear whether these deficits are related to the executive processes themselves, or to the degree of mental effort. To determine whether prefrontal deficits also would be found during less effortful forms of executive ability, fMRI images were obtained on 31 mild TBI patients and 31 control participants during three-stimulus auditory oddball task performance. Although patients and controls had similar topographical patterns of brain activity, region-of-interest analysis revealed significantly decreased activity in right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex for mild TBI patients during target stimulus detection. Between-group analyses found evidence for potential compensatory brain activity during target detection and default-mode network dysfunction only during the detection of novel stimuli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-247
Number of pages16
JournalBrain Imaging and Behavior
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Auditory oddball
  • Executive function
  • Mild TBI
  • Working memory
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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